Do It With Your Eyes Closed: Try This Brain Hack
Imagine a health elixir that works while you sleep. Imagine if this elixir:
- Improves your immune system
- Gives you more energy
- Makes you happier
- Decreases your chances of cancer
All of that for no effort; just lie in bed and let it happen. Better than the lack of effort it takes, it doesn't cost anything. No monetary investment or equipment necessary. It's free and easy and you can start tonight when you go to bed. What is this magic? It's a good night's sleep in and of itself. Before you say, "Of course. I already knew that," I would ask, if you already knew that, why are you still looking for the free elixir for good health? You are already reading this because you know your health can improve in some way. But what constitutes a good night's sleep? Enough sleep. That means around 7-8 hours per night, depending on the individual. (This applies to adults; teenagers and kids require significantly more.) Before you try to fix all the other aspects of your sleep routine, just focus on getting enough sleep.
The big worry for many people right now is covid. Whether you are choosing to get a vaccination or not, your immune system needs to be in tip top condition to create an immune response to the virus or the protein spikes. One study showed that one night of only 4 hours sleep leads to a 70% decrease in Natural Killer Cells (these are the immune cells responsible for destroying cancer and covid in your body). Imagine having only 30% of your potential immune response to cancer or covid or a covid vaccine. The fallout from that short sleep could be disasterous for your body.
Another study looking at one week's sleep of only 6 hours per night led people to have a deformation in 711 genes. The good news is, epigenetics has shown that as humans we are able
Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. If this seems unachievable, break this goal down to make it doable:
- Define when you will start and end your goal of 8 hours per night. Can you commit to making it to bed early for 5 days, no matter what other commitments you have in life? If this means turning down a late dinner or getting some work done during the day that you would have put off until the evening, commit to it just for 5 days.
- Is 8 hours for 5 days realistic for your schedule? If your work requires you to be awake during another time zone and you know you'll be up at 11pm for a zoom call, don't do this now. Find a time that works for you to actually achieve this.
-Ask yourself why you want to change your sleep habits. Do you want to prioritize enough sleep in order to experience better health? If you don't care, you probably won't succeed. If you know exactly why it matters to you (you'll have more energy to play with your kids or you will have a stronger immune system to fight against potential covid exposure), you're more likely to do it.